When you picture your adventure elopement, it might be hard to picture what the day will look like from start to finish. From short hikes to three-day backpacking trips, from a few friends to just the two of you, from a wild rock climbing adventure to a picnic on the riverbank, every elopement should be as unique as the couple eloping. 

Planning your elopement should be stress-free, and your day should be all about your love.

Here are a few of my favorite tips when planning your your elopement timeline

  • Give yourself more time than you think in your elopement timeline. Adding a 20-minute buffer between activities will help make your day less stressful, and less rushed
  • Remember to schedule in time to eat and recharge. No one likes being hangry! 
  • Personalize your elopement as much as you can: add in special traditions or moments to make it memorable

I’ve outlined three possible options for your elopement timeline, all unique to the couple’s elopement dreams. 

One elopement takes place on the Oregon coast and ends with time to celebrate family and friends. The second mountainous elopement includes a short hike, and plenty of time with dogs. The third backpacking elopement heads to a fire lookout for an overnight stay. 

Read on to learn more about how you can structure your elopement, and what you can add in to make the day all your own. 

cape kiwanda oregon sand dunes with ocean view

An Oregon Coast Elopement Timeline

The Couple’s Dream

This couple imagined a short walk to their elopement location on the coast with plenty of time to celebrate with family and friends throughout the day. 

Ceremony Location

Nestled in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area lies the most beautiful area of rolling sand dunes and one of the most epic elopement spots I have ever photographed! This stunning spot is literally 500 feet from the parking lot and offers insane views no matter the time of day. It’s a great spot for both sunrise and sunset ceremonies. 

These sand dunes can be particularly empty on weekday mornings during sunrise. Many times, I’ve never seen more than two or three people around in the early mornings. The people that do visit during sunrise will often spend time on the beach and not the dunes. 

Here are the details: 

  • Permits: None needed
  • Hike Distance: Half a mile, plus 500 feet up a sand dune
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seclusion: This spot can be quite busy on weekends, but a weekday elopement means you’ll get the beauty and the privacy you desire. I’d recommend a sunrise elopement. 

Adventure Elopement Timeline

  • 6 a.m: Wake up.
  • 6:15 a.m: Walk hand-in-hand across the street with your partner to grab a coffee and some breakfast from the local Stimulus Café + Bakery. They have some amazing baked goods! 
  • 7:30 a.m: Take turns getting dressed in your Harts Camp Airstream
  • 8 a.m: Walk across the street, separately, and climb the Cape Kiwanda Dunes
  • 8:30 a.m: First Look at sunrise. Take some time to enjoy the moment and settle into the day together. 
  • 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m: Explore the Cape Kiwanda Dunes together and take portraits. 
  • 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m: Come down from the dunes and grab a beer and some fish and chips from the local Pelican Brewery. Invite your closest family and friends and play yard games at your Airstream. 
  • 4 p.m: Head back to the dunes for an epic sunset ceremony. You’ll have time to settle in, relax, say your vows, exchange rings, have your first dance and even pop some champagne. I’ll be there capturing all the beautiful moments, and as the sun sets, you can have a picnic. 
  • After party: once the ceremony is over, strike up a fire and unfold your camp chairs for a lovely night out. Or, warm up in an epic hot and steamy outdoor shower at your airstream. 

Bonus: Everything in this itinerary is within walking distance, and you won’t need any cars! 

Where to Stay

You can stay in a renovated airstream at Harts Camp, within walking distance across the street from the Kiwanda Dunes. 

Leslie Gulch Elopement with Dogs Eastern Orgeon Bride and Groom with their dogs kissing the groom

A Day with the Dogs, Friends and a Few beers, A Short Hike Elopement Timeline

The Couple’s Dream

This couple came to me with one goal: to spend a chill, relaxing day hanging out with their dogs and their friends, and a few beers. 

Ceremony Location 

The gorgeous high desert gorge Leslie Gulch made for a beautiful and serene elopement location for this couple. All told, it ended up being a three-mile hike. 

Here are the details: 

  • Permits: None needed
  • Hike Distance: three miles 
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Seclusion: This particular hike is pretty remote no matter the time of day, but I’d still recommend a weekday elopement for the most privacy. 

Adventure Elopement Timeline 

  • 11 a.m: We all meet at the trailhead. 
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m: Set off on the hike to the ceremony location with friends and dogs in tow. We’ll stop and take photos along the way – and of course offer the dogs lots of love and kisses!
  • 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m: Arrive at the ceremony location and crack a beer to toast to the day! We spend some time exploring the area and deciding exactly where (and how) to do the first look. 
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m: Get ready in separate locations with the help of friends and make sure you are ready with your final vows. 
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m: Time for the first look! See each other for the first time and bask in the glory of your elopement day with your dogs by your side. We’ll take some portraits and you’ll decide where you want to say your vows. 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m: Your officiant will begin the ceremony! Say your vows, exchange your rings and seal the deal with your first kiss. We’ll pop champagne and make a toast to your lifetime of adventures together. 
  • 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m: Take a short side hike with just you and your dogs for portraits and spend a moment alone. 
  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m: Meet up with your guests again for your post elopement beers and spend some time around the fire. 
  • 6:30 p.m: The stars will come out, and you can have your first dance by the firelight. 
  • 7 p.m: We’ll take some gorgeous starry night photos and end the night. 

Where to Stay

Consider booking a campsite at Leslie Gulch, or a local Airbnb nearby. 

A field of wildflowers with a mountain in the background on a clear blue day in Montana

A Two Day Backpacking Elopement to a Fire Lookout

The Couples Dream

This couple wanted to take a hike through the mountains to say their vows at the top of the world, and then spend the night together under the stars at a vintage fire lookout. 

The Ceremony Location 

A remote lookout cabin outside of Glacier National Park, Montana.

Here are the details:

  • Permits: None needed
  • Hike Distance: 5 Miles 
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Seclusion: This spot is fairly unknown, but I’d still recommend a weekday elopement to keep it completely private. 

Adventure Elopement Timeline

Day 1

  • 10:30 a.m: We meet at trailhead and prepare for the hike.
  • 11:00 a.m: Make your way up the trail at a leisurely pace, stopping to snap photos and take in the views. 
  • 1:00 p.m: We arrive at the fire lookout and explore the area. Take time to relax and get set up for the evening.
  • 3:30 p.m: Time for a late lunch! Enjoy a picnic and take in the views from your home for the night. 
  • 5:00 p.m: Take turns getting ready in the fire lookout and make sure everything is just as you want it. If you haven’t already, write down your final vows. 
  • 6:00 p.m: Do your first look and decide together where you will stand for your ceremony.
  • 6:30 p.m: It’s time for your ceremony! Say your vows and kiss each other for the first time as a couple. We take photos and pop champagne. 
  • 7:00 p.m: As the sun sets, enjoy your first dance as a married couple. 
  • 7:30pm – Cozy up on a blanket for the grand finale – that gorgeous sunset! Enjoy a glass of whiskey together as the groom plays his guitar.
  • 8:00 p.m: Catch the first of the stars peeping out as you snuggle up together under your blanket. 
  • 9:00 p.m: Snap some photos of the Milky Way spreading across the sky and do one final cheers to your forever adventure together! 

Day 2

  • 9:00a.m. Wake up and share coffee and a breakfast buffet togethers as the sun rises
  • 10:30a.m. Pack up and hike back down to the trailhead
  • 12:00p.m. Meet your family and friends at the trailhead for a afternoon picnic and reception

The best thing about building an elopement timeline is the freedom to do whatever feels good to you!

You can spend your elopement day exactly how you want to spend it! If you’ve started dreaming about your elopement, but can’t seem to figure out how the day will work, I hope this guide of different elopement timelines helps you start to plan out your dream elopement. If you have questions feel free to reach out, I’m happy to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *